2 pints grape tomatoes
2 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne, regular or whole wheat
3-4 stalks celery from the heart, roughly chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (two large handfuls)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (a small handful)
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 clove garlic
2-3 Piquillo or roasted red peppers, chopped
A few dashes of hot sauce
1 chunk Manchego cheese, for garnish (optional)
3-4 scallions, finely chopped, for garnish (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF and place a large pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil. Scatter the tomatoes and zucchini onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and some salt and pepper. Toss them in the oven and roast until the tomatoes have burst and the zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes.
When the water is boiling, add some salt and drop in the penne. Cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve a mugful of starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta thoroughly, then return it to the pot it was cooked in. While the pasta and veggies are working, toss the celery, parsley, cilantro, almonds, zest and juice of the lime and garlic into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse everything together until chopped, then stream in the remaining EVOO while the machine is running until it forms a nice pesto. Reserve.
Once the pasta and veggies are ready, add the roasted veggies to the pot with the cooked pasta along with the pesto. Throw in the chopped peppers and a few dashes of hot sauce and give everything a good toss to evenly coat. Turn the pasta out into a serving dish and garnish with shaved slices of Manchego cheese and/or scallions, if you like. This is one of many "Yum-o!" recipes – it's good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael's nonprofit organization, go to www.yum-o.org.